Attempting to tear away the inverted commas that so often transform ‘masculinity’ into an explanatory cliché, "I am curious Masculine" splices together a series of images that reflect men’s material practices and offer the male body as metaphor for the experience of masculinization.
After all, it is the visual language of male sexuality that we have so potently inherited as a beacon for orienting our masculine journeys. As Victor Seidler explains, “a real challenge to liberal individualism involves not only challenging the image that is offered of the subject as a consumer encouraged to identify with the commodities they own, but also in understanding how precarious that individuality is” in the face of the collective. Gender identity formation can in turn be characterized - perhaps most generally - as a struggle for balance between the individual and the society which he lives.
How do we define what we need and want for ourselves in relation to gender ideals as we seek to reconcile those dueling forces? Can the remix of image and physical object speak to the performative fluidity of male identity? It is this juxtaposition of the liquid process of gender identity formation and the physical means with which we architect stable identities that is the driving force of this work and, hopefully, the commanding power of it.
Gallery: Vera List Center Year: 2013
This is the tale of Sant Josep. Of birds and bees and boys. Cicadas whirring amidst the pines.
So hot you might go mad And shoot a gun at the sun To make it set.
Eyes slip closed and the heat Beats and bangs on your eyelid doors. The torpor of summer. Sedated.
A breath of balsam, Eau de sunscreen. Gold chain knotted around his neck, Caught in the silky tufts at his chest bone.
Dive in the pool Down drown down here. The final setting sun Like a lemon sucked sec.
"The Masculine Electric"
We see masculinity as inheritable, a trait of human nature residing somewhere deep within our biological identification as male. We see masculinity as enduring, a kernel of wisdom passed down from our fathers, our fathers’ fathers, and so forth. We see masculinity as absolute, as ceremonial ritual, as intimate brotherhood, as instinctual, crotch-forward bluster. Poet Robert Bly once penned, “the structure at the bottom of the male psyche is still as firm as it was twenty thousand years ago.” Yet, there is no unitary, self-contained, self-perpetuating masculinity. "The Masculine Electric" proffers a satirical portrait of the masculine man as absolute entity, as ideology.
Gallery: Sheila C. Johnson Design Center Year: 2013
A tri-color risograph print, printed with soy-based ink on a RP3700 printer, "Novak" was featured in the Drums on Paper show by Authorized to Work in The US Press. The work represents a collage of portraits and images worn and kneaded into one another. Featuring images of famed tennis player Novak Djokovic and illustrious mid-century actress Kim Novak, "Novak" confronts the messy borders of gender, identity, and fame.
A digital printing technique using soy-based inks, the risograph process is similar to screen-printing in that each color in the composition requires its own pass. In turn, each print in a series is slightly unique, rendering imperfections in quality and output.
Gallery: Glasshouse Gallery Year: 2015
"N(one) of The Boys"
Engaging issues of gender sameness, heteronormativity, homosocial attraction, and self-reflexive masculinity, N(one) of The Boys seeks to craft a poetic, audiovisual narrative of the collegiate fraternal experience. Employing primary source documentary photographs taken in the early 20th century at the University of Virginia, the work explores questions of desire and intimacy within the traditional order of the fraternal system.
Harnessing the power of the collective male gaze, at once steadfast and threatening, intensely masculine and provocatively objectifying, the piece flips through fixed individual portraits of fraternity brothers frame by frame. Anchoring their eyes at the center of the monitor, the piece both dominates and ostracizes the viewer, incorporating him/her into the masculine discourse and excluding him/her from the fraternal masculine order. Ultimately, N(one) of The Boys presents a physical space in which others can symbolically explore my understanding of what it means to be masculine. There, viewers can question the bonds between men, the language that defines those bonds, and the tenuous place of difference within entrenched orders of fraternal sameness.
Gallery: Vera List Center Year: 2012
"Now Tender, Now Fierce"
Now Tender, Now Fierce is a self-referential work. The images and voice-over of the piece reflect my morbid attraction to the concept of celebrity, the male form, and how a persona is constructed. Fascinated with Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 film Persona and the cycle of desire theorized by the post-structuralist French philosopher Jacques Lacan, I attempted to engage the subconscious in my creative process. Harnessing my subconscious as a source for material, I wrote a poetic narrative inspired by sordid paintings of meat by Rembrandt van Rijn and Francis Bacon, Julia Kristeva’s essay on abjection, "Powers of Horror", celebrity home videos featuring Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Paul Newman, and Lydia Moyer’s video art piece about the harrowing story of the Jonestown massacre, Jonestown.
Aesthetically, the narrative is an experimental take on the documentary style, which makes use of primary sources and archival photograph and video fragments. The images fold in on one another kaleidoscopically, imbuing the piece with a scopophilic homoeroticism. The piece appropriates male cultural icons as both figures of my personal obsession and existential figments of a greater pop culture order. Pulsating with elements of carnival, flesh, bestiality, the voiceover and visuals also expose moments of perverse attraction.